Monday, July 27, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I showed a picture of the 440 four patch units I had made for my next version of Four Patch Galore?  



Well, I made a few changes to my design and had to make 92 more blocks. They are done and like the others, have all been sewn using my Featherweight. I've loved sewing on this machine and wonder why it took me so long to get it out and use it.



I have the entire body of the quilt done and am starting to add the borders. I am excited about this quilt and have already been planning the quilting.


This is going to be quite large, around 92" x 100" and I like how it looks. I'm also excited to be using a lot of stash. 

What are you working on today?

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sewing For Keeps

Why do you quilt? 

First and foremost I quilt because I love the joy it brings me and those to whom I give my quilts. I love to see someone snuggled up with one of my quilts; and I love to see the grandkids picking through the pile of quilts, trying to decide which one to use that night. I love the idea that they all know they are getting a hug from me every time they use one of the quilts I've made. 

I love the excitement of picking fabrics and the bit of uncertainty that the fabrics I've chosen will "work." I love the excitement of cutting that first piece and then hand-stitching that last binding piece. I love putting the blocks on the design wall and "playing" to see what looks best. I admit that this is probably where I lack the most imagination but I have people who are helping me with that. Thanks Jerry and Jack!

I also sew because I love to teach quilting. There is so much joy in teaching someone a new technique and watching as their fabric choices are sewn together to create a beautiful keepsake for a loved one. I love the excitement they express when their blocks measure the desired size, thus meaning that they have found that elusive 1/4" seam allowance. I love to see students proudly display their fist completed block and be thrilled and excited to keep going. I love it when it's time to go home and they don't want to because they've had so much fun and don't want to stop sewing. 

I love to learn about quilting. I love to read everything I can about the history of quilting as well as new techniques and fabrics. I love to learn about other quilters and their life experiences and what has brought them to this place in their quilting lives. I love that they are willing to share their creations and talents with others.

I love to learn while I teach. I learn to be a bit more open to "different" color or fabric combinations.   I learn new ways to do things because I always watch how others cut, pin and sew. I love to learn new uses for household items that you would typically not find anywhere near a sewing machine. And of course I then love to share this new-found knowledge with others. I love to learn about the many makes and models of machines out there in the quilting/sewing world; and I especially love it when I can show someone a new feature on their machine.

And I learn patience as I work with students who are new to quilting and just "don't get" what I am trying to teach. That forces me to slow down, evaluate my method and come up with something different. I always make notes and thank the student for his/her patience. When I go home, I practice what we did so I can be a better teacher and my next set of students can reap the benefits of my new skill set.

In short, I guess I love just about everything there is about quilting.

Amy Gibson who blogs over at Stitchery Dickory Dock and is the author of For Keeps, a wonderful book that is all about being intentional about quilt making. It is so easy to get caught up in the deadline for our quilts that we often forget to enjoy the process of making it. Amy helps to re-root ourselves and the reasons we quilt. 

Here's what Amy has to say about her book.

"I believe that a quilt, or any item, becomes memorable not simply because it exists, but because it carries with it something worth remembering–and that is precisely what For Keeps is all about– creating beautiful quilts that accumulate meaning through everyday use, and become memorable keepsakes that your children and children’s children will treasure.

The book features 12 quilts and 4 patchwork keepsakes, from my family to yours. With easy-to-follow instructions, beginners can dive in with confidence, and quilters of all levels can be inspired to make items your family will use today and treasure forever.

Snuggled under on movie night, spread out in the park, or tossed in the back seat for that family road trip– these are everyday quilts soaked in priceless memories."  

Perfectly explained, isn't it? With that thought in mind, Amy has created the “For Keeps” pledge:
  
The For Keeps Pledge sans sig line

Don't you love that? I sure do. You can take the pledge HERE.

You can even print out the pledge for your sewing room. (I've already done that!) And to top it all off, Amy is giving away a free quilt block pattern for those taking the pledge.

Whether you take the pledge or not, evaluate why you sew/quilt and be sure that at least one of the reasons is for YOU!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You Just Have to Have FUN!

I am so fortunate to be able to teach at shops that are fun and filled with absolutely some of the most creative people around.

Check out this video of Mabel and Ethel announcing their winner of the Row by Row. Darn it! I can't get the video to upload so you'll have to click the link to see it.


And check out how they have introduced their summer Christmas Specials




https://www.facebook.com/mequiltshoppe/photos/pcb.608884695920259/608884525920276/?type=1&theater


https://www.facebook.com/mequiltshoppe/photos/a.358097270999004.1073741832.319901248151940/609247029217359/?type=1&theater

I am so lucky and happy to be part of this team. And by the way, if you are in the shop and you hear them call out for Agnes, that's me, using my "old" name.

I hope you are able to have fun and find joy in whatever you do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tip Tuesday! - Penny Pinching

"Tip Tuesday!" - Penny Pinching

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************

We can all use a little bit of extra cash $$$ for our quilting addiction habit, right?

Wouldn't you love to get a head start on saving for that new sewing machine you want, or that awesome iron that makes you drool every time you see it? 

If so, why not join us for the 

Val's Quilting Studio

Val, over at Val's Quilting Studio recently introduced her third annual Piggy Bank Challenge and I decided to join the fun/savings this time around. Click HERE to read all about it.

Here's my "bank."


Can you guess how I want to use my savings?

Yep! I would love to go to Quilt Con.

 And so I won't be tempted to sneak a little cash out every once in a while, there's a note on the inside to keep my eye on the goal and fingers off the cash.


Even if I don't save enough to pay for my trip, it'll still be fun to have some "mad money" just waiting to be spent.

Last year, there was some SERIOUS money saved my many of the participants and I figure that if they could do it, so could I. 

So what do you say? 

Are you up for the challenge?

Sign up at on Val's blog HERE.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Organizing Patterns

"Tip Tuesday!" - Organizing Patterns, Books and Magazines

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************

I have to admit that I struggle with keeping my quilting things organized. No matter how much I try to stay organized, I end up with little piles all around the sewing room.




It may take a while, but once I get tired of the mess, it usually doesn't take long to get my rulers, cutters, etc. reorganized, thanks to my peg board corner .


But, when it comes to pattern and books, I really need to figure out a better system. (That makes it sound like I have a system, doesn't it?) Those are the items in my sewing area that are the most unorganized. 

In the past, I've tried separating my pattern by type (bags, wall hangings, etc.) but struggle with how to keep them organized. I've seen people who put them into cute baskets. 
 
Patterns in Various Baskets

photo from Craftsy.com

I have a friend that has a really nice IKEA set up and stores most of her fabric and patterns in wire baskets that are part of a shelving unit.


Patterns in Rows in Black Wire Basket
photo from Craftsy.com

The cute basket system didn't work for me because I don't really have a place for the baskets, and I don't have a shelving set-up like my friend so that's out too. Plus, neither of those options deals with my books or magazines. 

While thinking about all of this organizing, I've realized that probably the most important and necessary thing to do, and probably the most challenging for most of us, is to take an inventory of what we have and then do some purging.

That is what I plan to do in the next couple of weeks. I'll do that just in time for our annual sisters' weekend and I know that some of my patterns will find new homes. That makes me happy!

Want to learn more about organizing and storing your patterns? Check out the following links. 

  

I'll keep you posted on my progress and welcome you to share your storage methods. I need all the help I can get.  :-)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Nothing is really up on the wall right now, but I have something ready for it and I'm counting that.  :-)

Here are 440 four patch blocks for the Four Patch Galore ready to put up on the wall.  (That's a lot of fours to say!) 


All of the blocks are pieced, pressed and trimmed so putting them on the wall should be a breeze. If you look closely, you can see my notes on the pattern. Since I was playing around with size options, I made a copy of the pattern front and back, did the math, and then made notes. 

I'll update the pattern with the new information (more size options, fabric requirements, etc.) soon. If you have one of the original patterns and would like the updated version, please e-mail me and I'll get it out to you ASAP. The pattern still includes the four different methods of constructing four patch blocks which allows you to use stash scraps, charm packs, and jelly rolls. :-)

I started working on a grandmother's flower garden block yesterday.


I have five more blocks to complete and then I'm going to start putting the quilt top together. I had hoped to have these last five blocks done by now but it just didn't happen. I'm kind of glad because it gave me something to do yesterday.

This will need to go on the design wall too so I won't delay working on the four patch quilt. My goal is to have the final flower blocks done by the time the four patch quilt is off the wall. Keeping my fingers crossed!  

What are you working on today?

Check out what other quilters have on 
their wall today.

Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Who Needs Electricity?

Happy July 4th!

Image result for fourth of july images

It's a laid back day today, but last night included a bit of drama turned fun. 
There was another storm (lots of rain, thunder and lightening) and we quickly learned that electricity really isn't needed to have fun. 

We used my small flip light and the computer for our light. We did use our phones some, but didn't want to drain the batteries.


It took a while, but I soon remembered to turn on my flash so I could get some shots in the dark.


We played cards and much to the chagrin of Ann and Claire, I won my second game of trash.


Still no power, so I suggested that Claire make shadow puppets and see if Ann and I could guess what she was making.






We didn't guess too many correctly, but we had fun.

And then Claire started having various animals try to open the door to where her dad was sleeping.




And when the door did not open, she started "knocking" on it. 




Like I said, who needs electricity to have fun? No sewing was done, but we had a blast. 

The electricity finally came back on at 3:47 am, but we were all fast asleep by that time.

Enjoy your 4th of July!